Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

crimes and misdemeanors

DEA Says It Arrested a Real-Life Evil 'A Team'

Joseph Manuel Hunter, left, is led by Thai police commandos to Police Aviation Division after being arrested, in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Thai police said they arrested the American man wanted by the U.S. for allegedly running a drug trafficking network that spanned Asia and the United States. Hunter was arrested Wednesday on the resort island of Phuket as part of a sting operation launched at the request of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A former Army sergeant named Joseph Hunter, who once trained snipers, chose a post-military life in private-sector security, as many ex-soldiers do. But according to federal prosecutors in New York, Hunter, whose nickname was Rambo, chose to play for the other team, arranging executions for drug traffickers and other such unsavory types. DEA agents and their Thai and Liberian counterparts this week arrested Hunter, in Thailand, and two other ex-soldiers (one American and one German) in Liberia, for allegedly agreeing to assassinate a DEA agent and an informant in Liberia at the behest of what they thought was a Colombian cartel. The New York-based prosecutors also charged the ex-soldiers with conspiracy to import cocaine.

The would-be hitmen were told they would receive $800,000 for the Liberia job and eventually, per Hunter, "millions of dollars and tons of cocaine." Turns out the cartel members were DEA informants and the surveillance and security assignments they fed Hunter ahead of the alleged assassination plot were all part of an operation to nail them. Chillingly, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said investigators believed Hunter had previously arranged for the murders "of hundreds of people." We have said here before that all hit men are undercover cops, but that apparently wants updating: All hitmen are undercover cops unless they're real and the client is an undercover cop.

0
Photo: Sakchai Lalit/Corbis